Biden to split $7 billion in frozen Afghan funds
Biden will split the $7 billion in frozen funds between 9/11 victims and Afghan humanitarian aid.
US President Joe Biden signed an executive order releasing $7 billion in frozen Afghan funds to be shared between humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan and American victims of "terrorism", including 9/11 families.
According to The New York Times, the intricate strategy is intended to address a slew of legal blockages originating from the September 11 attacks and the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
After the Taliban seized the nation in August, the government was dissolved leaving behind over $7 billion in central bank assets deposited with the US Federal Reserve Bank in New York. The Taliban took over the central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank, and claimed ownership of funds.
It has been unclear since who is legally authorized to access the assets, and the US still has not recognized Taliban's government.
A group of 9/11 victims' relatives had obtained a default judgment against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda years before they attempted to take the Afghan bank assets.
The plaintiffs convinced a court in the case to send a US marshal to serve the Federal Reserve with a "writ of execution" to take the Afghan money.
Biden's administration is to interfere in the litigation and anticipated to inform the court that the request of the victims should be heard. If the judge confers, Biden will attempt to send the balance of funds toward a trust fund that will be used to provide food and other humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.
The process is expected to be lengthy and complicated, with campaigners and families of 9/11 victims saying all assets should be directed toward assisting the Afghan people, who are experiencing increasing hardship.
The money, which includes currency, bonds, and gold, is largely derived from foreign exchange holdings from the last 20 years of Western aid.
However, it also contains the savings of regular Afghans, who are now confronting rising violence and hunger, as well as deteriorating economy and rule of law.